back to article No, pesky lawyers, particle colliders WON'T destroy the Earth

A couple of lawyers are calling for the US government not to fund any further research at one of its premier heavy-ion colliders, the RHIC, because of a discredited 15-year-old “doomsday scenario” debate. Alert readers will recall that back in 2008, botanist Walter L Wagner had a court case against the Large Hadron Collider …

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  1. LaeMing Silver badge
    Meh

    Aren't these couple of loons...

    bringing the whole Lawyer profession into disrepute?

    ...

    Oh... Nevermind.

    1. LarsG

      Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

      Loons?

      Until the day we see the world begin to disintegrate around us while the scientific community shrugs it's shoulders and says "Oops, I think we got it wrong! Err any ideas on this guys?"

      Not only do we have to contend with meteor strikes, super volcanos, war, perceived global warming, disease, man made virus and the sun going out creating a mass extinction, we have scientists messing with stuff like this and theories that are pretty much guess work.

      1. RIBrsiq

        Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

        "Perceived global warming"...?

        Right... ignore the very real and tangible threat (I mean, have you watched the news, lately?) scientists warn us about and concentrate on the totally imaginary threat some sci-fi author needed as a plot device which the scientists assure us is impossible. Got it.

        Until we have colliders that can exceed, or at least approach, the energy levels nature likes to throw around, we should be safe: everything we do, has already been done repeatedly before in the grand lab that is the universe. This, of course, is not very likely to happen because that "perceived global warming" will probably get us first...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

          "Right... ignore the very real and tangible threat (I mean, have you watched the news, lately?) "

          I'm intrigued. Are you insinuating that the flooding and weather we are experiencing right now is attributable to anthropogenic global warming?

          1. Bluenose

            Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

            No the author pointed out that climate change is an innate part of the nature of this world upon which we live (otherwise the last ice age would still be with us). The extent to which anthropogenic climate change is a factor in the current rate of climate change is something that still needs to be determined. However there is overwhelming evidence to show that human activity does have some impact on climate (otherwise acid rain would be an imaginary weather condition).

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @ Bluenose - Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

              "...the author pointed out that climate change is an innate part of the nature of this world upon which we live"

              Pretty sure he didn't make that statement, or allude to it. His subsequent reply confirms that. I never stated if it was true or not, more that his comment seemed to state that the current events are proof of climate change. Climate change whether natural or anthropogenic - I challenge you to find any scientist that will state these current events in the UK are a direct result.

              Your comment is decently made. His alludes to cliche recycling.

              1. Naughtyhorse

                Re: @ Bluenose - Aren't these couple of loons...

                I'll take that challenge....

                hang on there's a catch, I'm just going to quote some fringe organisation with a total vested interest in pushing the political argument and no actual involvement in day to day climate science at all.

                ya got me!

                the met office;

                http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2014/uk-storms-and-floods

                to summarise - 'we cant say conclusively (cos that's not how climate works) but you would have to be a fucking idiot not to see the overall picture.'

                now will you shut the fuck up??

                no i didn't think so

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: @ Bluenose - Aren't these couple of loons...

                  "http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/research/news/2014/uk-storms-and-floods

                  to summarise - 'we cant say conclusively (cos that's not how climate works) but you would have to be a fucking idiot not to see the overall picture.'"

                  So..the fact that the Metoffice state that the current observations regarding the abnormal activity which is referred to in the report requires more research to be done means that they are certain of its cause?

                  Of course not. Hence their statement.

                  To use your phrase "...you would have to be a fucking idiot..." to accept that things are certain, eg, the odds of current patterns being caused categorically by GW are so high that we accept that as certain even when your own quoted source are not stating that.

                  "now will you shut the fuck up??"

                  Ok - so we are back to accept this fact just 'because' and don't question anything.

                  You are showing the attitude that is the problem in general. We can't question anything without being labeled as a 'naysayer', 'denier', 'alarmist' etc.

                  I haven't stated whether I think that GW exists or doesn't exist. That is immaterial. I have only questions the debatable associations that have been alluded to in this forum*.

                  *Forum: An Internet forum, or message board, is an [*]online discussion site[*] where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages

                  PS - No. You shut up. :)

          2. RIBrsiq

            Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

            "Are you insinuating that the flooding and weather we are experiencing right now is attributable to anthropogenic global warming?"

            Are you assuring us that they're not...?

            I mean, not being a working scientist with a reputation to worry about, it seems obvious to me: all kinds of records are being broken, which's what one would expect with global climate change. More energy in the atmosphere means a more energetic atmosphere. Higher average temperatures mean more evaporation which in turn, since what goes up must come down, means higher precipitation.

            Some samples:

            "Parts of England have had their wettest January since records began more than 100 years ago, figures show".

            "Israel experienced its driest January since records have been kept, with Jerusalem seeing almost no rainfall at all for the entire month". That's this past January. And that's about 70 years of records, I believe.

            "The 2003 European heat wave was the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540".

            "France's [2003] summer heatwave killed a total of 14,800 people".

            "Nine of the 10 hottest years on record have been in the 21st century".

            "[Typhoon Haiyan] is the deadliest Philippine typhoon on record. Haiyan is also the strongest storm recorded at landfall, and unofficially the strongest typhoon ever recorded in terms of wind speed".

            "Atlantic tropical cyclones are getting stronger on average, with a 30-year trend that has been related to an increase in ocean temperatures over the Atlantic Ocean and elsewhere."

            ...and so on. As I said: just watch the news.

            Sure, it could all be a coincidence, but that seems unlikely to me, at this point.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

              "Sure, it could all be a coincidence, but that seems unlikely to me, at this point."

              Sooooo by your argument that these events correlate climate change, the Maunder minimum which led to the mini ice age in 1645 to 1715 (the Thames regularly froze over) then if someone had stated climate change in that period, those weather events would have 'confirmed' climate change*.

              My point isn't a debate on climate change, my point is using events that fall outside the norm as 'proof' of an event that papers on climate change state regularly *not to use independent weather events as evidence of climate change*

              It makes proper scientific review in the public more difficult with half-cocked cliches and ideas being bandied about.

              (edit: Actually it did confirm climate change, just that the climate swung back the other way after...I should have stated irreversible)

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                Actually, I should really have given credit for your second paragraph because that was spot on! :)

              2. RIBrsiq

                Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                "My point isn't a debate on climate change, my point is using events that fall outside the norm as 'proof' of an event that papers on climate change state regularly *not to use independent weather events as evidence of climate change*"

                You are technically correct. Of course any single weather event cannot be tied directly to climate change. Weather, after all, is not climate.

                But my point is that there's a difference between a paper intended to be published in a peer-reviewed publication and comments on a non-specialized Internet forum. The standard of evidence is different, certainly. Or should be, at any rate.

                If you've been playing a die game for a while and certain numbers seem to be coming up more often, at some point you're entitled to wonder if the dice are loaded. *Especially* if virtually every die expert is jumping up and down screaming that they are. Even though it's still perfectly correct to state that if you throw a pair of dice often enough, an unbroken run of a million pairs of sixes is bound to come up. And nothing says that this run will not occur at the beginning of the die throwing experiment, either.

                "It makes proper scientific review in the public more difficult with half-cocked cliches and ideas being bandied about".

                I sincerely do hope that the future will prove me wrong (and believe me the wronger I am proven on this point the happier I would be), but I believe that a proper scientific review in public is all but impossible. The public simply does not understand science. Else no one would be "debating" evolution. Or anthropogenic global climate change, for that matter.

                And don't forget that the actual scientist whose job it is to study climate are virtually unanimous that climate change is real and that we are causing it (the last count was more than 97% agreeing, I believe). They're done studying the evidence at the standard required by science and the verdict is in. It's just Joe and Jane Public that remain "skeptical" because they do not, I presume, understand what the big words mean or something. Sticking with the same big words and the nuance is not going to help explain things to them.

                1. Austhinker

                  Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                  What do you mean "The public simply does not understand science." I'm a member of the public, and I understand science pretty well :-) . Better than some "scientists", I think.

                  As I understand it, some individual weather events CAN be tied to global warming, but not immediately. I recall hearing that scientists had established that the London floods (somewhere around the turn of the century) were due to global warming, but it took them about a decade to do it.

                  I agree though that blaming individual weather events on Global warming is generally not good science, and leads to counter arguments of the type "what about (similar event) way back in (X no. of decades ago)?".

                  Trends are definitely more consistent with what we know about the effects of global warming. One trend I'd like to know more about is the apparent increase in tornadoes, as this seems to be a very substantial trend, especially in Australia (where I live), with tornado strikes on towns and cities apparently going from virtually unheard of to multiple instances a year, in less than a decade. If this trend is real, and continues, I believe we'll be in big trouble much sooner than expected.

                  I agree that the evidence points to the current climate change being mostly anthropogenic, however we have to also recognise non-anthropogenic factors, both for scientific thoroughness and so that we have a defense against claims of "deniers". For example, by my estimation we're currently pretty close to the "most rapid warming" part of the cycle that caused the Maunder minimum (assumptions: 1200 to 1400 year cycle - [based on my memory], and sinusoidal pattern).

            2. Richard Jones 1

              Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

              My records do not go back any time at all. The best scientific records go back a few years. Less good records go back a bit further than that but are at best patchy. Geographic records go back a good deal further and show that one 'constant' is that weather has always changed, we know that one potent force is the impact of the sun which in case you had not guessed it is also always changing its activity and thus its impact on its planets. Magnetic fields change along with the gravitational effects of other external bodies. In short the weather is a by product of a huge mish-mash of factors only some of which we know and frankly few of which we understand. Controlling the size of camp fire you can have in a back garden might make a few feel very self-righteous, but with India and China ramping up their coal fired power stations the effect of the next camp fire tax will have very little useful effect.

              One thing to consider is that within any closed system an increase in one location will always be countered by a reduction somewhere else, otherwise the darned thing will not balance. Siberia has been warmer than usual North American has been colder and snowier than usual and we have been wetter than usual. I do not know the reasons in precise terms for this, I know that the sun has entered an unpredictable change in activity and I do know a tiny amount of thermodynamics, enough to understand that change produces effects that may at first be hard to understand. I also know that the feed back will be that changes will cause unexpected effects for those who do not understand that way that balances are restored.

              We should learn to live with change, I am not the way I was even yesterday, I and the weather and the world will be different tomorrow, that's life.

              1. Naughtyhorse

                Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                if you dont understand the question, you cant really contribute much to the answer.

                thanks for the demonstration

            3. Will 30

              Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

              You might find this article interesting:

              http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1256/004316502320517407/pdf

              There are several potential traps in "Parts of England have had their wettest January since records began more than 100 years ago, figures show" - the author of the quote gets to chose the 'parts of England', the period of time ('one month'), the month itself (January), and they've waited until it's particularly wet before they made this statement.

              In reality, there isn't any strong trend in rainfall (or flooding) in the UK over the period for which the records exist, and such trends as may be found can be maximised, minimised or reversed, just by the selection of particular start and end points.

              It didn't rain at all here (South West England) one day earlier in the week - that means that it was as dry as the driest day ever! Since records began!!! It's tipping it down now, though. Does this sort of extreme day-to-day variation indicated something sinister about climate change?

              I am reminded of Richard Feynman's remarks about a licence plate he'd seen on the way to the lecture.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                Puzzled.

                "This is the wettest January since 1767" So this is not new?

                "these wet conditions in England are precisely those that have been forecast by climate models."

                Remind me, when did the industrial revolution start again? Had it started in 1767, and how much CO2 had been emitted by man then?

                Just askin'

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                  On that note:

                  http://cosmoscon.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/co2-vs-population.jpg

                  - complete coincidence I found this, btw, I was actually looking at things to do with M82 and the supernova and I saw this and it made me laugh.

                  Please don't get me wrong. There are a few things going on here.

                  Whether I believe in ACC or NCC or CC at all is immaterial to what is actually happening right now. The question is, should it be ACC, then what do you propose we do about it? If it is NCC, the same question? The Earth and the incredibly complex biomechanical system that exists within it, including extra terrestrial impacts, (the Sun for one), will continue on regardless of what we do, whether we survive it or not. However, the thought that we can hangon to our current existence without change is laughable.

                  Case in point, if we suffer a power outage for, say, major Sun activity that takes out a large proportion of substations in the UK, what do you think the result would be if we had no consistent power for, say, a few months? How would it affect day to day life, the ability to pay for things, stay in contact, clean water, medical help, even the distribution of information from a central government? Scary isn't the word. Even 20 years ago, it wouldn't have been as bad as it would now because of the digitisation of modern life in the UK.

                  Now take that same scenario in a place such that has intermittent power even now. They would cope better than we would because they have to deal with it day to day and any social systems in place already deal with that scenario. We no longer do.

                  If you don't find that scary...I certainly do and just because it hasn't happened yet, (70s power cuts - I am just about old enough to remember those), is not a reason that it won't.

                  The point I am getting to is the rather silly way that cliches and pseudo scientific phrases that get flung from various lobby rich groups that try and affect the opinion of the population at large result in daft, pointless approaches to the problem of CC rather than a proper grown up debate/discussion. I am not pointing at specific groups but all.

                2. Grease Monkey

                  Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                  "these wet conditions in England are precisely those that have been forecast by climate models."

                  Ah, but climate and weather are not the same thing. Yes, some doomsday climate models predicted it would rain heavilly most of the time. But we've also had some exceptionally dry weather, which doesn't fit in with the predictions of those climate models. We've also had a few very hard winters which also fail to comply with those predictions.

                  You can't look at a few weeks in isolation and call it "climate" (changed or otherwise) it's just weather. Climate is a pattern of weather over a number of decades. Does the weather over the last few decades follow the predictions of these models? Unfortunately for those climate scientists who have staked their reputations on those predictions it does not.

                  And don't even get me started on the BBC's reporting of climate change.

            4. Tom 13

              Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

              http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2014/02/14/storm-was-mid-atlantic-regions-9th-biggest/

              http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2014/02/13/snow-totals-piling-up-fast/

              Oh noes! An ice age is coming! An ice age is coming!

              1. Grease Monkey

                Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                And there you go. Climate change (if it's happening at all) will happen over decades if not centuries. The meeja however have taught us to think in soundbites. So the news meeja in general and several of the posters here think that weather = climate. A month is a hell of a long time for an idiot or a journalist to comprehend. Idiots tend to work from the principal that whatever is happening now will continue to happen. However the weather we're having here is connected to the exceptionally cold weather being experienced elsewhere.

                Worldwide (and without ignoring inconvenient data as climate "scientists" like to do) was january warmer than usual? And even if it was does that indicate a trend towards warming? That's too much work for the news meeja to answer.

                Have the meeja been shouting about global warming the last few cold winters? Funny that.

                1. Naughtyhorse

                  Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

                  The Younger Dryas was believed to have taken place over a couple of decades, but is now considered to have happened in a couple of years.

                  pesky experts

          3. Vociferous

            Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

            > Are you insinuating that the flooding and weather we are experiencing right now is attributable to anthropogenic global warming?

            No single event is attributable to anthropogenic global warming. That's "weather". The long-term climatic trends are partly attributable to anthropogenic global warming. That's "climate".

          4. Wzrd1

            Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

            "I'm intrigued. Are you insinuating that the flooding and weather we are experiencing right now is attributable to anthropogenic global warming?"

            A simple answer for a simple question:

            Maybe, maybe not. A few data points are not a trend. Trends occur over the space of decades to centuries. Not a single season.

            But, on the maybe side, a fraction of a degree over a few hundred thousand kilometers is a hell of a lot of energy seeking to find equilibrium.

            Is that climate change? In a way, it is past the solstice, so spring is coming. Increasing severity, more storms and greater fluctuations are a hint that a trend may be present.

            That is why science observes, continues to observe, presents theories, tests theories and continues to still observe in case the theory is incorrect.

            So far, the climate change theory is matching up to the facts quite nicely.

            If it's wrong, so be it. But, would you rather ignore the possibility of it being wrong and ending up with London under water and my well inland home new beachfront property?

            Of course, if climate change is true and it is warming, there is an upside. Wall Street will be under water as well.

      2. 's water music Silver badge

        Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

        @LarsG. Wow, 6:1 downvotes! Do people with a sense of humour not get up early or will this trend be maintained? Let's hope the RHIC doesn't destroy the earth before we find out

      3. Anonymous Blowhard

        Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

        @LarsG

        "we have scientists messing with stuff like this"

        People seem to forget that the energy involved in our BIGGEST** particle accelerators is TINY compared to naturally occuring (unless it's aliens shooting at us) high energy particles that hit the earth EVERY DAY!!! They're called cosmic rays; scientist would love to use then for experiments, but you can't steer them in front of the detectors so we make do with our puny machines.

        If "high energy" physics experiments were going to destroy the world then it would already have happened as a result of cosmic ray events.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_ray

        ** Check the bit about cosmic rays being 40,000,000 times more energy than the LHC

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Aren't these couple of loons... @ Anonymous Blowhard

          Unfortunately reality and sense have nothing to do with this as this is Religiopseudoscience that we're dealing with here and that has no truck with either common sense or reality.

          1. willi0000000

            Re: Aren't these couple of loons... @ Anonymous Blowhard

            several years ago a writer of science fiction proposed that type 1b supernovae are all the result of industrial accidents by unlucky civilizations on planets orbiting white dwarf stars.

            [hey, it's written down and therefore must be true]

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Happy

        @LarsG

        Nice to see someone else read the tutorial on trolling.

      5. MrXavia

        Re: Perceived global warming

        Global warming is happening, the climate is changing, how much of that is man made? I think even the scientists don't know, how will this warming alter the climate? its guesswork really.. BUT it is happening...

      6. Wzrd1

        Re: Aren't these couple of loons...

        "...perceived global warming, disease, man made virus and the sun going out creating a mass extinction, we have scientists messing with stuff like this and theories that are pretty much guess work."

        So much hyperbole, so zero facts.

        First, the sun isn't about to go out, it won't go out tomorrow. It won't even go out in a billion years.

        Now, around 13 billion years from now, it'll be a lot cooler. Of course, whatever is left of the Earth after warming from the warming of the sun is questionable, as we're still not certain if the Earth will be engulfed by the sun when it hits red giant stage.

        Meanwhile, we have zero man made virii around that are pathogens. We're incessantly struck by random particles at higher energies than we'll ever manage to create on this Earth and we remain stubbornly in existence.

        Those are incredibly well established facts, documented with millions of pages of evidence.

        Whereas all you've provided is disbelief in all things knowledge, all things established fact and all observations since the first scientific observation was made.

        Lemme guess, the stars are really holes in the great celestial bowl, right?

        And particle physics has so much to do with meteors, any form of volcano, global warming, disease and microbiology, right?

        There is a medical term for this. It's called cranial-rectal inversion.

        OK, it's not medical, but it's accurate.

  2. Number6

    ...which could, if certain assumptions are correct, start a chain reaction converting everything into “strange matter.”

    Sometimes I wonder if this has already happened. Some really strange things have occurred.

    1. jai

      Some really strange things have occurred

      I think a lot them work in my office!

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Some really strange things have occurred.

      Don't Panic!

      I believe we have established that those were all the work of a certain Dent, Arthur Dent.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, the International Business Times? One guess why this got published: It, while having the negative of being complete bullshit, has the positive of being opposed to something that the Obama administration is in favor of.

    Among a certain segment of the population, that is the only credibility required - after all, what good is understanding the world around us and the potential destruction of the earth if it can't be seen in terms of its potential to BEAT THE ENEMY???

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if it could have happened

    Across the vastness of the universe, you can safely assume that anything that could go wrong has already gone wrong somewhere.

    Since we seem OK it is safe to assume that this sort of thing is not possible.

    1. h4rm0ny

      Re: if it could have happened

      >>"Across the vastness of the universe, you can safely assume that anything that could go wrong has already gone wrong somewhere."

      An assumption that would resolve the Fermii Paradox and explain why in a galaxy of half a trillion stars that has lasted for ten billion years, we appear to be alone. A simple catastrophic event lying in the path of the advancement of Physics with almost no warning signs until a species says: "why don't we bang these particles together really fast?" and their planet goes boom.

      1. Naughtyhorse

        Re: if it could have happened

        conversely we bang there 2 particles together and all of reality fades, to be replaced by the text

        'LEVEL 2'

    2. Gav
      Mushroom

      Re: if it could have happened

      So you've managed to look out across the whole universe and tell that nothing has gone wrong, and this sort have thing has never happened before? From the point of view of sustaining life, there are a great many places in the universe where things have gone very, very "wrong".

      Which isn't to say that this lawyer nonsense isn't total bunk, but your logic is flawed.

      1. Apriori

        Re: if it could have happened

        Look you stupid bunch of nerds, don't you realise that only lawyers know anything and always get everything right especially when they are not very good lawyers and become politicians instead. Just think, Clinton was a lawyer, Blair was a lawyer, Gore is a lawyer, Obama is a lawyer, Parliament and Congress are full of lawyers. They never ever get anything wrong and every decision they make is done with the deepest moral reflection.

        ... Actually I forgot, climate scientists never get anything wrong either.

  5. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    No pain, no Gain...

    Or, whoops, apocalypse!

    Of course, these lawyers, like all of their ambulance chasing brethren, are just scoping out new, novel ways of charging legal fees.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jeez... we actually let these people out in public on their own...

    Do they manage to dress themselves in the morning without help...?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Jeez... we actually let these people out in public on their own...

      The only thing different about this set of whackos is that instead of targeting farmers or logging companies they are targeting physicists.

  7. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Holmes

    Where is Mah Orlo?

    The whole AGN-NYET discussion, stranged up a bit, I see.

    Just proof that people with no real jobs tend to specialize in the domain which they have no fucking clue about.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Huh?

    ...the “doomsday scenario” needs a few preconditions to become an actual threat:

    •Strangelets have to be possible (right now, they have only been hypothesised);

    •They would have to actually be created in an RHIC experiment; and

    •They would have to exhibit the hypothesised property of destroying the world, rather than (say) ceasing to exist soon after observation, as happens with so many fundamental particles created in colliders.

    So I want to get a dog but my wife is worried about it biting the kids. Can I respond by saying ah, but for that to become an actual threat it would have to me the following preconditions:

    •We would have to buy a dog; and

    •The dog would have to bite the kids.

    Therefore, it's safe to buy a dog!

    1. Corinne
      FAIL

      Re: Huh?

      But we DO know that dogs exist, they are not just hypothetical. We DO know they can be made, it isn't just a guess that if such a thing DOES exist then they may be brought into being by this particular method. And we DO know they have sharp teeth & have been known to bite. This case is closer to saying you want to get some alien life form from the next galaxy as a pet!

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Huh?

        What you have to do is explain why, if the doomsday preconditions are correct, it hasn't happened already. Because Nature is bombarding the Earth with cosmic rays millions of times more energetic than anything we can make in our experiments. The Earth is a large target. The Sun is a much bigger one. Both are still here despite having been bombarded for the last century at least. If you accept that the last century is not special in cosmological terms, one can assume the same bombardment over the entire multi-billion-year life of the Sun. Either way, if strangelets could destroy us, it would already have happened.

    2. Smarty Pants
      Happy

      Re: Huh?

      Surely it would have to be a Unicorn and worry about gouging

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Huh?

        Sure, but when the experiment is to further understanding into whether or not unicorns exist, concern about unicorn gouging becomes more valid, does it not? Can one dismiss the risks unicorns due to their non-existence whilst at the same time conducting research into the properties of unicorns?

        1. Naughtyhorse

          Re: properties of unicorns...

          I got this covered

          they are pink and invisible

    3. My-Handle

      Re: Huh?

      In this case, the preconditions would be more like:

      - Dogs are possible (rather than just being hypothetical creatures)

      - You are capable of buying a dog

      - Dogs (or, more specifically, the dog you intend to buy) have exhibited the property of biting people

      Given that all of these are true, it may indeed not be safe to buy a dog.

    4. Domeyhead

      Re: Huh?

      You can respond how you want but unless your post makes sense and is relevant I don't know why you'd bother telling us. You are saying that the whole weight of scientific thought and opinion is just that, and can be countered by anyone saying "Ah but just supposing they are wrong?" Well you could pretty much say that about anything couldn't you. You could say that it is possible your wife might just go berserk with an axe before you had even bought the dog. You need to bring reason, structure experiment, observation, statistics and deduction to your analogy. All you have brought here is the same imbecilic "Well if you can't prove it won't happen then there is a chance that it will happen" nonsense purveyed by a billion non scientists who all demand some kind of unwarranted moral equivalence.

  9. theblackhand Silver badge

    I look forward to their TV ads....

    "Have scientists destroyed the world YOU live on? You might be eligible for compensation (and we will be eligible for a huge fee.....). Just call LAWYERS4U"

    Note: please note that any small children and cuddly animals eaten during the making of this commercial were part of the lawyers daily feeding habits. Any similarities between the lawyers shown and these commercials and human beings is purely coincidental.

  10. Red Bren

    Stop eating pasta!!!

    Based on the assumptions that:

    1. The Flying Spaghetti Monster exists

    2. S/He has the power to destroy us all

    3. S/He doesn't want us eating his brethren

    we must immediately stop eating pasta or face the consequences! Unless (3) is incorrect in which case we must eat nothing but pasta!

    Someone call a lawyer...

  11. Scott Broukell
    Meh

    So that's what that big RED button is for!

    <see above>

  12. Mephistro Silver badge

    (@ AC)

    •We would have to buy a dog; and

    •The dog would have to bite the kids.

    I see it more like this:

    If you buy a dog, then

    - You may accidentally buy a purple dog with 7 legs and wings, no matter that nobody has seen one in real life

    - In some discredited theoretical framework, a seven legged dog may eat your children.

    - If it eats your children and then Santa Claus steps accidentally on the dog, both will explode AND DESTROY THE UNIVERSE!!!

    This looks like a typical discussion with my significant other. By the way, I've lost all hope of ever owning a dog. ;-)

  13. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

    What if US lawyers destroy the universe?

    US lawyers have already all but stopped innovation in the US with the patent nonsense, turned the entertainement industry into a shark pool of recycling old (and mostly, bad) stuff, and now seem to be set on stopping what little research escaped the budget cuts.

    Once they are done with that, what will they put their mitts on? Food? Surely there is something to do there, all these people processing food items that they only bought a licence to, surely that's illegal. On to of that they use it to produce toxic bacteria-laden waste, so that's the Green AND the terr'ist angle covered. This one should create enough work to get them busy for a while before they can get to the REAL threat: breathing.

  14. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    ... and back to the subject ...

    Who are these lawyers and on whos behest are they grinding they lawery axes and preparing to fill their ample wallets?

    No laywer *ever* does something for nothing, getting two to work on the same job at the same time would cost at least four times as much (price goes up with the square of the level of bamboozlement provided). In addition they've actually written a letter ... that must already be £10k ... someone's paying ...

    1. shinanygnz

      Re: ... and back to the subject ...

      Largely what I was wondering. They even give the game away in their statement, "...might be profitably reappraised"

      It's past time to line up the lawyers and accountants

    2. Naughtyhorse

      Re: ... and back to the subject ...

      I give you a pound to a pinch of shit the one paying the bills has a cross with a tiny dude nailed to it round their neck.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ... and back to the subject ...

        "I give you a pound to a pinch of shit the one paying the bills has a cross with a tiny dude nailed to it round their neck."

        There probably isn't a dude nailed to it - that's pretty much Catholic territory, whereas it's the unoccupied-cross-favoring Southern Baptists (Easier to be chipper about Jesus dying for your sins if you don't have to remind yourself too vividly) who've decided that greediness is next to godliness.

        I know this, of course, because as a Jewish atheist I am significantly more knowledgeable about theology than your average Christian.

  15. Velv Silver badge
    Facepalm

    OK, so it's not entirely impossible that the LHC, or VLHC, or any of a number of these experiments will trigger so apocalyptic chain reaction.

    In fact the LHC is more likely to blow up the earth before somebody finds proof that God exists.

    It's just highly improbable.

    Maybe the VLHC just needs a really really hot cup of tea.

    1. Paul S. Gazo
      Mushroom

      Actually, that brings up an excellent point.

      "In fact the LHC is more likely to blow up the earth before somebody finds proof that God exists."

      I'd think that if God exists, He's massively more likely to blow up the Earth on a whim than is a hypothetical particle reacting in a way that doesn't fit any non-discredited theories. Thus, God is the clear and present danger and we should perhaps divert more of our funds from less-urgent tasks such as killing ourselves, towards the location and neutralization of God.

      Perhaps investing more strenuously in particle physics might be a reasonable start.

  16. P.Nutt

    So How do they stop nature recreating the same experiments...

    Seeing as the very same particles are slamming into the earth at pretty much the same speeds, the only difference is we are re-creating the environment here on earth and have a whopping big camera to gather the data from the impacts. Fact we are still here proves the point that the world will not be swallowed up by a back hole. Infact the densest matter we have in the story here is the pesky lawyers.

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: So How do they stop nature recreating the same experiments...

      the densest matter we have in the story here is the pesky lawyers

      Not dense. Just highly successful parasites. Ever met a poor lawyer?

  17. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Boffin

    Risk of destroying the world

    leave the planet “an inert hyperdense sphere about one hundred metres across.

    What has already happened is that the cranial matter of these lawyers collapsed into an inert hyperdense sphere about one hundred nanometers across.

  18. kmac499

    Lawyers ... who needs 'em

    Yet another case of lawyers behaving like two year olds arguing their point of view from a totally illogical starting point.

    As always they assume that the 'Law' is the ultimate arbiter of right and wrong and open to change if it doesn't agree with their clients or they interest. ( Spot the paradox). Standing in front of a judge spouting a few words and convincing them does not change reality.

    I look forward to the case of State of <insert name of daftest legislature here> vs Newton to repeal the law of gravity due to all the consequential damage caused by fallng objects and people.

    Only to be challenged a few years later by people claiming damages as all their posessions float away..

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    We need a word with the Quantum Physicists...

    FFS guys stop naming your particles with press friendly sensationalist names like "God", "Strange", "Top" and "Charm" etc. These articles wouldn't get half the press space if they had boring and unfamiliar names like 'Cornell' or 'Higgs'.

    1. Semtex451 Silver badge

      Re: We need a word with the Quantum Physicists...

      Since you've brought that up- I was raised pronouncing it Bo'zon as in Pro'ton, and not Bo'sun as in bosuns mate, ships Bosun etc.

      Am I wrong in hunting folk down for this?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We need a word with the Quantum Physicists...

      My parents accidentally acquired a small, stray, rapid, and energetic kitten recently.

      They named him 'Higgs'.

  20. Peter Simpson 1
    Holmes

    ...an inert hyperdense sphere about one hundred metres across.

    Still, better than what we have now, amirite?

    And it would be a solution to the Middle East problems. All of them. So the prospect is not without considerable merit.

  21. Yugguy

    Whom are they going to sue exactly?

    When the LHC destroys the world there'll not be any lawyers left. Or courts. Or plaintiffs. Or defendants.

  22. Gio Ciampa

    What happens when 2 lawyers collide at high speeds?

    Time for a Kickstarter-funded LLC?

    Standing for, fairly obviously, the Large Lawyer Collider

    1. BlinkenLights

      Large Lawyer Collider

      Large Lawyer Collider....

      http://trucks.autotrader.co.uk/used-trucks/type/bus

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trinity

    Weren't there some on the Manhattan Project afraid the air would catch fire?

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a scientist and a lawyer...

    ... I feel the need to point out that extrapolating to all lawyers from two samples is statistically unsafe.

    Though I am reminded of this comment:

    'Typical - it's just a case of 98% of lawyers making the rest of us look bad'

    /Anonymous for blatantly obvious reasons

  25. Andy A

    Conflict of Interest argument?

    Surely we are talking filthy pots and squeaky clean kettles here.

    The only people allowed to argue these things in court are lawyers, who profit HUGELY from such a case, especially if it drags on for years.

    And don't forget that a presiding judge is in the same profession.

  26. ShortLegs

    Where do I get funding...

    to build the LLC - Large Lawyer Collider.

    On the other hand, a shotgun and a few dozen boxes of shells is probably cheaper, and more gratifying.

  27. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Would this really be a problem you could complain about?

    Seriously, who would know? One millisecond all is well and then.... nothing. The lawyers wouldn't want to see it as their revenue stream would end. The politicians wouldn't as their power would end. But in the universal scheme of things... what would be the big deal if some scientist said "interesting results we're seeing... oops!..." We literally wouldn't know what hit us.

    OTOH, it's fascinating that an article on lawyers and physics gets a whole lot of comments about climate change... WTF?????

    1. LaeMing Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Would this really be a problem you could complain about?

      Especially in response to a head comment that is just a throw-away slag-off of lawyers.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A bit of semi-irrelevancy:

    If I remember correctly, around the dawn of the atomic weapons age, there was a similar thing going on. There was concern that detonating tan atomic or thermonuclear device would cause a chain reaction in the atmosphere; hence destroy the earth. They were wrong. Well meaning but without sufficient information.

    At the time, some of those concerned were the actual physicists making them.

    On the other hand, Nobel thought dynamite would bring world peace. He was wrong as well.

  29. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Well, it's a good thing that Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays don't exist...

    Uh, but they do.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Well, it's a good thing that Ultra High Energy Cosmic Rays don't exist...

      And they hit the Sun as well as the Earth. The Sun has ~10,000x the surface area and catches a lot more cosmic rays. A strangelet formed in the Sun's chromosphere would have the same effect as on Earth, forming a clump of strange matter which would grow until it sinks into the Sun's core, snuffs out the fusion reactions, and then consumes the rest of the Sun. And this would happen to other stars as well - astronomers would see stars suddenly winking out of existence all over the place all the time.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    yes let's just trust scientists...

    ...unless it's about climate change, and then we'll trust right wing radio hosts and Lewis Page instead

  31. Sandtitz Silver badge

    Remember the LHC doomsayers?

    With black hole predictions and so forth? Colliding particles is really extremely boring business as can be witnessed at the official webcams here:

    http://www.cyriak.co.uk/lhc/lhc-webcams.html

  32. Andrew Norton

    Whatever you do, don't tell them that the Muon1 Distributed Particle Accelerator Design project moved to Brookhaven from RAL back in November. that's part of designing a Muon collider, which would be a much higher energy system than the LHC

  33. hoola Bronze badge

    Science - Good & Bad

    Science has done a lot of good, it has also done vast amounts of damage. This is particularly noticable when big business starts poking it's fingers into the pie.

    E.g

    GM Crops, if you remove the spin there is only one winner, the Agro-Chemical giant that holds the patents.

    Fracking, let's get the gas out and bugger up everything, but it is out of sight so we don't care.

    Climate Change, the likelihood is that it is happening and is exaserbated by human activity, big business and short-term gain main that it will not be taken seriously until there is a major disaster in the developted world. The irony is that in the UK that may have just happened.

    Science has created much of the mess through the greed of coprorations. Eventually grand scheme such as the Partical Accelerator or this ridiculous Neutrino experiment will go wrong. The trouble is that it will be on such a scale that is has the potential to decimate countries, if not the planet. At the end of the day they are experiments and as such no one is exactly sure of the outcome. You can model it as much as you like but things do eventually go wrong.

    Whilst research should be encouraged there appears to be no responsibility for the outcome.

  34. Tex Arcana

    Lawyers never do anything unless money (usually an obscene sum of it) is involved. Therefore, someone paid these sharkwhores to file this suit with the accompanying histrionics, and make sure enough of it got coverage, ostensibly to scare someone, or a collection of someone's--who must be dumber than the usual bunch of "sky is falling" crazies (usually politicians, preachers, and prepper).

    Follow the money, find the person or persons paying them, and find out if they're doing it because they're crazy; or they're doing it because it ensures them a fat profit.

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